On-orbit servicing lessons from the Hubble Space Telescope

STS-125 Mission Specialist Andrew Feustel navigates near the Hubble Space Telescope on the end of the remote manipulator system arm, controlled from inside Atlantis' crew cabin. Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld signals to his crewmate from just a few feet away. Credit: NASA.

There are important lessons to be learned from the on-orbit servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.

In today’s SpaceQ podcast we feature a Future in Space Operations teleconference with Canadian space exploration historian Chris Gainor.

The topic of Gainor’s talk was Hubble Space Telescope’s Contributions to Servicing Spacecraft On Orbit. For anyone interested in on-orbit spacecraft servicing, Gainor’s research which will soon be published as a NASA Special Publication book, and should be essential reading.

The Hubble Space Telescope wasn’t designed to be serviced in the manner it was, and yet when critical problems arose, new techniques and plans were conceived which led to multiple servicing missions. The lessons learned in the servicing of Hubble shouldn’t be forgotten.

Listen in.

Hubble Space Telescope’s Contributions to Servicing Spacecraft On Orbit presentation

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About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.


  1. I am fairly sure Hubble WAS designed to be serviced with the expectation of replacing the scientific instruments. Of course, that assumed the shuttle could travel to it.

    • In part, that’s true, however, it wasn’t designed to be serviced in the way it was. It meant thinking outside the box and coming up with new protocols, plans, and tools. And even then there was no guarantee it would work.

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